The Ministry of Lands has launched a programme aimed at processing and issuing more than 500,000 title deeds countrywide this year, the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Gideon Mung’aro has said.
Mung’aro said the programme, which would be implemented under a Rapid Results Initiative (RRI), would entail among others the digitization of lands’ records as well as devolving land registries with a view to speeding up the processing of land documents.
Speaking to journalists in Mtwapa, Kilifi County on Wednesday, Mung’aro said counties believed to have been marginalized and those whose residents are said to have suffered historical injustices, would be given first priority in the programme.
“We have identified six areas, some of them entire regions while others are selected counties, where we want to speedily process and issue title deeds to residents,” Mr. Mung’aro said.
He said the areas to benefit from the RRI programme would, include the coastal region that has six counties, Nakuru and Laikipia among others.
“The Coast region will largely benefit because it is among the areas affected by lack of land ownership documents due to historical injustices,” he said.
The CAS said the Ministry expected to issue at least 30,000 title deeds in Taita Taveta County and 10,000 title deeds each in Kilifi and Kwale Counties during the RRI period.
The Lamu and Tana River would then follow although not many people will get the documents since most if the land in the two counties are community-owned, he said.
In Mombasa County, the Ministry was working in areas such as Mwakirunge, Kadzandani and Mafisini, while at least 10,000 families are set to benefit in Makanjuni area of Mtwapa, Kilifi County.
He lauded the six county governments in the Coast region for cooperating with the Ministry to deliver on its mandate, noting that the governors had allocated funds in their counties’ annual budgets this financial year to support the process.
He asked leaders and members of the public who are yet to acquire land ownership documents to be patient as the government was keen to ensure the process of processing land documents is expedited.
To address the squatter menace at the Coast, Mung’aro said the Ministry had initiated talks with private landowners with a view to settling squatters and reduce the perennial wars between landowners and squatters.
He said the Ministry was also working towards revoking all land title deeds fraudulently or illegally acquired.
“We are working hand in hand with the National Lands Commission (NLC) to investigate such parcels of lands that were acquired illegally so we can revoke the documents so acquired,” he said.
The CAS said since President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered a waiver on all the new title deeds being processed, the issuance of the documents would be fast-tracked and thus end the problem of the documents staying in land registries for long as owners would not have to pay for them.
He said the digitization at lands offices would enhance transparency and reduce corruption among lands officials.
“The decentralization of the lands registries would also make it is easy for title owners to obtain their documents without having to travel to Nairobi and other regional offices.
“By June this year, we expect to take all records to respective county lands registries so that wananchi will not have to travel far to get services,” he said.
Mung’aro said the Ministry was constructing seven new registries in the country, adding that there were plans to build a lands registry in Malindi to de-congest the Kilifi registry. Other projects include the renovation of the Laikipia and Samburu lands offices.
He called on the Judiciary to liaise with the Ministry to hasten resolution of land conflicts.
The CAS said it was now faster to register land as the period had been reduced from 73 days to 12 days.
There were also plans to reduce the duration further to between one and three days if the digitization programme is completed, he added.
By Emmanuel Masha